Ray v. Moon ( 2015 )


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  •                                                                    FILED
                                                           United States Court of Appeals
                            UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS         Tenth Circuit
    
                                          TENTH CIRCUIT                       December 21, 2015
    
                                                                             Elisabeth A. Shumaker
                                                                                 Clerk of Court
    
        AUSTIN RAY,
    
              Plaintiff - Appellant,
    
        v.                                                       No. 15-1290
                                                                (D. Colorado)
        ARLETA MOON, Special Agent I.R.S.;              (D.C. No. 1:15-CV-01556-LTB)
        EIGHT UNKNOWN FEDERAL I.R.S.
        AGENTS; COLORADO DEPARTMENT
        OF CORRECTIONS; UNKNOWN STATE
        EMPLOYEES; ANNA EDGAR, A.U.S.A.;
        GARY PACHECO, Parole Officer, State of
        Colorado; ERICKA MARTIN, Program
        Director, CMI; DOES 1-100, Federal and
        State Actors,
    
              Defendants - Appellees.
    
    
    
                                       ORDER AND JUDGMENT*
    
    
    Before HARTZ, BALDOCK, and MORITZ, Circuit Judges.
    
    
    
    
    *
       After examining the briefs and appellate record, this panel has determined unanimously
    to honor the party’s request for a decision on the briefs without oral argument. See Fed.
    R. App. P. 34(f); 10th Cir. R. 34.1(G). The case is therefore ordered submitted without
    oral argument. This order and judgment is not binding precedent, except under the
    doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel. But it may be cited for
    its persuasive value. See Fed. R. App. P. 32.1; 10th Cir. R. 32.1.
           Austin Ray filed in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado a
    
    civil-rights suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of
    
    Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 
    403 U.S. 388
     (1971). The district court dismissed the
    
    action on the ground that Mr. Ray had raised the same claims in a motion to dismiss his
    
    criminal prosecution pending in the same court (but before a different judge). Mr. Ray
    
    appeals. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Because the district court did not
    
    state a proper ground for dismissal, we reverse and remand.
    
           On September 30, 2013, Mr. Ray was sentenced by a Colorado state court to a six-
    
    year prison term. On April 22, 2014, while he was serving his sentence in a “state
    
    community corrections facility,” R. at 6, federal agents armed with a warrant arrested him
    
    on tax-fraud charges and took him from the facility. On June 9, 2015, Mr. Ray moved in
    
    federal district court to dismiss his criminal case on the ground that the government
    
    denied him due process by removing him from the state program without notice or a
    
    hearing. He also argued that the federal court lacked jurisdiction over him and that his
    
    placement in federal custody violated the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, 18 U.S.C.A.
    
    app. 2 (1970). The motion was denied. We dismissed for lack of jurisdiction his appeal
    
    of the denial. Mr. Ray remains in federal custody awaiting trial.
    
           While Mr. Ray’s motion to dismiss the criminal action was pending, he filed two
    
    additional suits in Colorado federal court based on his removal from the community
    
    corrections facility. One was an application for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
    
    § 2241. The district court dismissed the action without prejudice, stating that it would
                                                 2
    “refrain at this time from addressing the issues raised in this action pending resolution by
    
    the court of the pending motion to dismiss [in his criminal case].” Order of Dismissal at
    
    4, Ray v. Denham, No. 15-cv-1012-GPG, (D. Colo. July 7, 2015).
    
             The other suit was the civil-rights action now before us. Mr. Ray alleges in that
    
    suit that his removal from the state program violated his rights under the Fourth, Fifth,
    
    Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court dismissed the suit without
    
    prejudice “for the same reasons stated in [Mr. Ray’s habeas case],” namely that
    
    “[b]ecause the claims presented in this case are at issue in [his] pending criminal case,
    
    . . . this Court will refrain from addressing these claims in this action pending resolution
    
    of the pending motion to dismiss that addresses these claims in [the criminal case].” R. at
    
    52–53.
    
             We are sympathetic to the district court’s concern for duplication of judicial effort.
    
    But it did not cite to, nor are we aware of, any authority for the dismissal of Mr. Ray’s
    
    civil-rights claim. Dismissal of a habeas claim may be appropriate if the same issue is
    
    pending in a criminal case, because a habeas claim is not properly brought if the prisoner
    
    has not exhausted his remedies in the criminal proceeding. See Order & Judgment, Ray
    
    v. Denham, No. 15-1252 (10th Cir. December 18, 2015). Similarly, dismissal of a civil-
    
    rights claim concerning prison conditions should ordinarily be dismissed if the prisoner
    
    has not exhausted administrative remedies. See Booth v. Churner, 
    532 U.S. 731
    , 733–34
    
    (2001) (§ 1983 claim); Yousef v. Reno, 
    254 F.3d 1214
    , 1216 n.1 (10th Cir. 2001) (Bivens
    
    claim). But Mr. Ray does not challenge prison conditions and we know of no applicable
                                                   3
    exhaustion requirement for his civil-rights claim. Cf. Heck v. Humphrey, 
    512 U.S. 477
    ,
    
    480 (1994) (“In general, exhaustion of state remedies is not a prerequisite to an action
    
    under § 1983.”) (internal quotation marks omitted).
    
               Nor was Mr. Ray’s suit dismissible under the Heck doctrine. Heck held that a
    
    civil-rights claim may be barred if its success would be inconsistent with a criminal
    
    conviction of the plaintiff that has not been invalidated. See 512 U.S. at 486–87. The
    
    Heck doctrine does not bar a civil-rights claim, however, when a criminal prosecution is
    
    pending but there has been no conviction. See Wallace v. Kato, 
    549 U.S. 384
    , 393–94
    
    (2007). A stay of the civil-rights case, pending disposition of the criminal prosecution,
    
    may be appropriate. See id. But dismissal is not.
    
               We REVERSE the district court’s dismissal of Mr. Ray’s civil-rights suit and
    
    REMAND to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this disposition.
    
    We GRANT Mr. Ray’s motion to proceed without prepayment of costs and fees, and
    
    remind him of his obligation to continue making payments of the filing fee until it is paid
    
    in full.
    
                                                ENTERED FOR THE COURT
    
    
                                                Harris L Hartz
                                                Circuit Judge
    
    
    
    
                                                   4
    

Document Info

DocketNumber: 15-1290

Filed Date: 12/21/2015

Precedential Status: Non-Precedential

Modified Date: 12/21/2015